Meet the activists making change in their local communities, pounding the pavements in their Dr. Martens sandals. Get to know Nova Twins: the rock duo transforming the face of alternative music.
Listening to a Nova Twins track is like mainlining a shot of adrenaline straight into your bloodstream. On stage, the duo – longtime friends Amy Love and Georgia South – go hard, singing their lyrics over wailing guitars, though they make just as much noise off stage, too.
Indeed, the legacy of Nova Twins won’t just be about the records they release, but also their transformation of the face of alternative music. “As two women of colour on the rock scene, there are not many of us here,” Georgia says. “We’re trying to bring through a whole new movement, because there are so many people yet to be discovered and appreciated.” This work is well underway: their curated playlist project Voices for the Unheard is amplifying people of colour on the alternative scene, and last year they petitioned the MOBO Awards to introduce a rock/alternative category.
And while they’re making moves in the broader industry, having released their debut album Who Are the Girls? last February, the duo are adamant that their relationship with their fans is paramount. “Online and via our music we’ve created a community, our own lane with people who want to be free to express themselves,” Amy says. “It’s a safe space where you feel like you can be yourself, whatever that represents to you.”
Committed to diversifying their scene and creating authentic connection through music, Amy and Georgia are proving that today’s punk ethos is about spreading positive change. So what’s their advice for anyone wanting to follow in their footsteps and tear up the status quo? “Stand up for what you believe in, dress how you want to dress, be who you want to be and just be authentically you,” Georgia recommends. “Don’t feel the pressure from society to be what you think you should be, because that’s all false.” There you have it, a road map for revolution, courtesy of rock’s most daring duo.
Below, we catch up with Nova Twins about the meaning of community, shaking up the status quo and their Dr. Martens story.
Great to meet you. First thing’s first: how did you come to be Nova Twins?
Georgia South: About seven years ago, me and Amy were always gigging but in separate projects. We’d get booked for the same shows and we’d travel around together and be on at the same nights. We’d always hang out, Amy is like family, we kind of adopted her and she’d come on our family holidays and we ended up sharing a room eventually. So we were like, “Why haven’t we actually done music together? Let’s just try a song.” Then we did and we loved it, it was called “Bad Bitches” and we thought, “Let’s make it official.” It was very marriage proposal but in band form. We’ve been like that ever since, just trying to tackle every day in the music industry.
What’s your creative dynamic like?
Amy Love: We feel really lucky that we’ve got each other, we can only imagine it to be quite isolating if you were to tackle this industry by yourself. We ride the highs and lows together: when we’re feeling shit, we feel shit together and when we’re on a high we get to celebrate together. Before we were even a band, we were family friends so we always had a dynamic energy. It just works.
It’s often written that a sense of community is important to your work as Nova Twins. What does community mean to you?
AL: Community is survival. It’s comfort, it’s sharing. It’s a safe space where you can feel that you can be yourself, whatever that represents to you. For us, we’ve built a community online and via our music, our own space and lane with people who just want to be free to express themselves however.
Your music draws on a lot of genres, all wrapped up with a punk attitude. What does spunk mean in 2021?
GS: Punk is everything right now. It’s politics, it’s not just what we thought it was. You see punk transcend into grime, into poetry, into protests on the street through the BLM movement. It’s literally anyone who has something to say that’s positive and supporting people. That’s punk of the 21st Century.
When do you feel most empowered?
AL: We feel most empowered when we’re on stage and when we connect with our audience. That’s the time when you let all the nerves rush through you and you hit hard with the set. That connection between ourselves and the audience is always so powerful and exciting. We just feel at home on the stage.
You’re known as change-makers in your scene. What should we all start doing to shake up the status quo?
GS: Stand up for what you believe in, dress how you want to dress, be who you want to be and just be authentically you without thinking of anyone else. Don’t feel the pressure from society or what you feel like you should be, because that’s all false.
AL: Show up, turn up.
You mentioned earlier that performing is where you feel most at home. What else brings you joy?
AL: Friendship and family are some of the most important things that bring us joy. We love doing music and we feel lucky every day that we get to do that as our job.
Speaking of performing live, what does the government need to do to support musicians as we emerge from lockdown restrictions?
AL: The government needs to pay us, simply. The music sector and the arts sector contribute so much money into the UK and we often get called upon [in times of need] like to raise funds for charities. When it becomes us who are in need, the support is absent. The government needs to pay the musicians, the lighting, the crew, the workforce, everybody whose jobs have been at stake. These are real professions and [politicians] need to see them as a real career because they contribute so much to our society today.
What’s the most radical thing about you?
GS: Being two women of colour trying to tackle the rock scene. There’s not many of us here but we’re trying to bring through this whole new movement because there’s so many great people yet to be appreciated and discovered [and brought] into the limelight.
What’s your Dr. Martens story?
GS: Dr. Martens is a lifestyle, isn’t it? You’re fully in Dr. Martens and you live it every day, like we have since forever, since our early teens. There are so many memories attached to them – whether it’s in a festival field, on stage or just hanging out, they’ve always been there. It’s just a lifestyle of being free, you can really adapt your style [because] they adapt to anybody, which is great. It’s really inclusive and it’s great to be a part of the community.
AL: When I think of Dr. Martens I think of London and other cities and the diversity of the different people who wear them. Dr. Martens also backs the underground and as a big brand it’s great that they’re willing to share the stories of smaller artists.
Let’s talk about the sandals you’re wearing: the Dr. Martens Voss Fluffy and Voss Quad. What makes them special?
GS: I love them, I’m wearing the leopard print [Voss Fluffy] sandals. I’ve got a leopard print bag so I can be matching.
AL: I never wear sandals, I’m literally the person who wears Dr. Martens boots on the beach. But I’m wearing the [Voss Quad] now and, actually, I do like them. It’s a bit of a transition for me, so this summer I’ll be wearing sandals on the beach for the first time.
As someone that’s busy pounding the pavement making positive change, is the sandal’s wearability and practicality important to you?
GS: Yeah, it feels like they’re really comfortable. You don’t have to wear them in, they feel like you’ve already worn them in.
Love what you’ve read so far? Check out the Dr. Martens Presents x Nova Twins ‘Voices For The Unheard’ Vinyl here.
Shop Dr. Martens Sandals at drmartens.com.
20 May 2021